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Visiting the Hospital?

December 12th, 2019

6 Tips to Keep Yourself Healthy 

Whether you’re stopping in for a quick visit with a friend who’s had surgery or you’re on a lengthy stay because of a loved one’s extended illness, being in a hospital means you’re likely to come in contact with germs. When you’re surrounded by people who are sick, protecting your health and staying well should be top of mind. It’s important for friends and caregivers to take special precautions so you’re better prepared to help the person in the hospital recover. Follow these tips to take care of yourself physically and make your health and wellness a priority! 

1. Wash your hands. 

The simplest tips are often the most important – and overlooked! Proper hand washing is the most effective way to remove germs and other harmful bacteria from our hands. No matter how clean a hospital may be, germs are likely on every surface and in the air. Hand washing has been shown to stop antibiotic-resistant bacteria from spreading and reduce the infections inside the hospital! 

To prevent the spread of disease and keep yourself from getting sick, wash your hands when you arrive and when you leave a person’s room. If you don’t have access to soap and running water, hospital rooms are equipped with dispensers of anti-bacterial gel or foam that are also effective in killing germs on contact.

The proper technique? Use mild anti-bacterial soap in lukewarm water for at least 20 seconds. Click here for detailed instructions on how to do it like a pro! 

2. Avoid waiting areas. 

Sometimes you have no choice, but if possible, steer clear of the crowds and away from common waiting areas. If you do have to wait, choose a quiet spot where fewer people are sitting and away from anyone who is coughing, sneezing or appears to be sick. Bring along a package of disposable anti-bacterial wipes to clean the chair or table you’re using. This brings us to the next tip!  

3. Don’t touch your face. 

If you stop to think about it, how many times a day do you absentmindedly touch your face or rest your chin on your hands? It’s probably a lot. Then think about all things you’ve touched – your car, your phone, your keyboard, the doorknob, the toilet handle. It’s gross to consider, but viruses, germs and bacteria enter our body most commonly through our mouth, nose and eyes. Avoid rubbing your eyes, use a tissue when you cough, and wash your hands after you blow your nose. 

Bonus TIP
Did you know that most smart phones are a hotbed of bacteria? One study showed the 16 percent of smart phones contained E. coli, a type of fecal matter. Take a minute to clean your electronic devices with a Lysol wipe and protect your health! 

4. Change your clothes. 

Clothes and shoes can carry the hospital’s bacteria home with you. It’s a good idea to remove and wash your clothes to help stop the spread of germs. Any extra step to reduce your odds of spreading infection to yourself or someone at home is worth the effort!

5. Bring snacks from home. 

Eating from a vending machine is never the healthiest option. But if your loved one is sick and you don’t want to stray too far from the room, a well-packed snack bag is your best friend. An apple or banana paired with a small handful of nuts is a satisfying option that will keep your energy up. Air popped popcorn, low sugar granola bars and dried fruit are also great choices to fill you up without making a mess and don’t require refrigeration.

6. Get the rest you need. 

It can be challenging – and physically and emotional draining – to care for someone in the hospital. That’s why it’s so important to take breaks, get fresh air and take time for sleep. If you’re not taking care of yourself, you’ll be less effective in caring for the ones you love. One last thing to remember – if you’re not feeling well, the hospital is no place for you! Stay home until you’re fever free and feeling better.  

What are your tips for staying healthy in the hospital? We’d love to hear! For more information or to schedule an appointment with one of our surgical specialists, call 423.267.0466 today. 

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